I said to myself I’d try and get out every two days on my bike, back pain and weather permitting, so I went out for a short twenty mile jaunt around my local roads and hills.
Hills. Well, I live in North Wales, so there’s no escaping the buggers. Today, I foolishly chose to ride up one of four hills that travels up to the hillside village of Mynydd Llandegai, instead of taking the usual ‘easy’ option (although still not ‘easy’, my usual climb up is somewhat less likely to give me a coronary). These hills all climb up from just near my village and to be honest, if you want to head directly west, you’ve no choice. So, off I popped feeling psyched to get up and over what is affectionately known as St.Anne’s hill (due to the old, abandoned church half way up). I wanted to ‘slay’ it as I noted on my Facebook page. I’m pretty unfit at the moment, due to my back injury and my depression keeping me off the bike, so I’m building up my fitness again slowly. ‘So why we going up St.Anne’s hill, Elton?’ my confused brain asked. Because it’s steep and it’s a challenge. What’s this got to do with photography? you may ask. Calm down and keep reading and you’ll see, as this bitch of a climb is worth the pounding pain in my chest for the view that unfolds at its 347 metre/1,138feet top.
Well, I got up the hill, albeit with me gibbering over my handlebars and wondering why the hell I do these things and continued to climb up gradually through the village until I got to a point where I knew I could take a few pics for a panorama. Thankfully, the weather was kind by North Wales standards today and I was able to cycle on without being blown backwards into Llandudno by our prevailing south westerlies (my local friends will sooo get what I’m talking about). Llandudno is about fifteen miles away. Anyway, got to my stopping point and had my ‘fat break’ and took this with my trusty point and click. All pics edited in Camera Raw, Photoshop and finished in Lightroom unless stated otherwise.
Naturally, any snow we did have a day or so back has melted. The snow levels on our mountains at this time of year are up and down like a whore’s draws. The joys of being surrounded by sea and having a maritime climate. /sulks because we rarely get good snow.
I permitted myself a further rest of around five minutes as I currently looked like this:
I know what you’re thinking: ‘Golly, what an attractive guy’. Weeeeell, my supreme bike handling skills are balanced out by looking like this (but my wife loves me, so that’s ok).
Ahem. Anyway, I got back on my trusty, nine year old steed and realised then how incredibly sore and out of use my sit bones were; jeez, they smarted! I ignored it and carried on down the road. I decided to extend the route a little as there was a point I wanted to take a picture from, looking down towards the coast.
I continued around until I got into the village of Dinorwic, and took another few portrait shots to stitch into a panorama. This is the view south, looking over Llyn Padarn and to the village of Llanberis, with the Moel Eilio range behind and the Snowdon massif buried under cloud further left; always love this view as even under cloud it’s stunning:
I had to make a quick decision after this, as I had the option of turning down left through the stretched out hotch-potch of a village known as Fachwen or continue through to Deiniolen. So I turned left and immediately onto the loose, crappy road that is only wide enough for one car; it’s prudent to cover your brakes here and not go too mad on the descent, besides, I don’t think your wheels or kidneys will thank you for it, as every time I descend this road I often wish I had a cross bike or even a mountain bike as the road surface is just waiting to a) throw you into the trees/walls/houses/over or into a cliff; b) turn your wheels into impromptu Pringles or c) both. I’d wager both. This picture quite clearly shows how bad it is for us skinny wheeled roadies:
The potholes have clearly been filled in by trowel wielding gorillas.
I reached the bottom of the descent safely, having managed to stay upright and for once, not having a full frontal with an oncoming vehicle or runner.
From here it was pretty plain sailing really; just spin a nice easy gear and think of alternative ways home to stay off the main roads. So I cut across a couple of roads I used to use on a work commute. These were mostly OK surface wise, but at this time of year, covered in all sorts of crap and detritus. The road going up past the Pentir power station was a little brown to say the least, but it was kind of satisfying to get my bike dirty. Also, there was one bit of road I knew was quite photogenic and would work quite well in black and white. Here it is (that is, when BT Infinity actually allows me to upload a small file that has so far taken almost a week – it’s bloody terrible!):
After getting my bike covered in all sorts of doo-da on this road, I rejoined the main road and just spun the last few miles home. And, thankfully, no retards shouting abuse at me out of their tin coffin windows today for being a cyclist.
I leave you with a tone-mapped image of my bike, resting on my wife’s car, as like me she needed a rest. I’m off to bed now as I’ve become very agitated at the poor standard of internet that BT have been ‘providing’ since we ‘upgraded’. Good night folks.